We just returned from spending five whole days on Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands’ second most populous island. I had been under the impression that las Islas Canarias were named after, you know, canaries. After all, canario means canary, so the feminine form was canaria, right? Wrong. Gran Canaria originally meant the Great [Island] of Dogs! Just look at this beer called Tropical, the beer of the Canary Islands:
See the dog? That’s where the Canary Islands get their name! Apparently there were a lot of big dogs on the island back in the Roman era. Who knew? Another important lesson to remember: In las Islas Canarias, don’t say autobús. Say guagua.
We were fortunate enough to have family living on the island, in the capital city of Las Palmas. We stayed at their house and ate breakfast every morning on their chalet’s patio. It was, in a word, ideal. No need to worry about renting cars or finding a decent bar to breakfast at. My Spanish family is phenomenal. They drove us everywhere, all over the island. We saw beaches.
The water here was incredibly blue
We saw beautiful scenery.
Sunset from Pico de las Nieves
We saw gorgeous sunsets.
We ate a lot of delicious food, including a lot of seafood and fish. (Unpictured are countless plates of papas arrugadas con mojo picón.)
Food you should eat if you go to Gran Canaria: papas arrugadas, mojo picón y mojo verde, gofio, queso majorero, chorizo de Teror, pata asada (roasted pig leg), lapas (a type of mollusk). Just eat as much fresh fish and seafood as you can! There is one restaurant where you go to a little window, pick out a fish caught that very morning, and they cook it up for you right then! Also, for some reason, many restaurants serve your bread with alioli, which is delicious but also dangerous, because you might not want your food after so much delicious bread + alioli!
We saw some dunes.
Is there anything better than being barefoot on a beach?
We went to Teror, a cute little mountainous village about a half hour away from Las Palmas. We were there right before their village’s festival, which celebrates the Virgen del Pino (Virgin of the Pine), patron saint of Gran Canaria. After shepherds witnessed an appearance of the virgin Mary on September 4, 1481, Teror became a pilgrimage site. The idea is you walk up the mountain, and then fill up by eating a bocata con chorizo de Teror, a huge sandwich with Teror’s chorizo, a spreadable type of sausage. Believe me, after that you will not be hungry! Teror is also home to many typical Canarian balconies.
All in all, it was a magical trip, principally thanks to my wonderful Spanish family. I am so lucky to be blessed with Mario’s family: his aunts/uncles, cousins, parents, brother, etc. They are always willing to teach me about their culture, about the history of Spain, and help me in any way possible. ¡Muchas gracias, familia! ¡Hasta la próxima!